Anya holding the leaves of a neon pothos on the desk at plant room

Neon Pothos Plant Care (Epipremnum pinnatum)

The neon pothos is one pothos variety of many. It’s popular with indoor gardeners for its bright, vivid foliage. You too can help that foliage flourish at home or the office with the right care, and I’m here to tell you how.

Here’s how to care for a neon pothos:

  • Water to maintain moist soil 
  • Provide bright, indirect light 
  • Use well-draining potting soil
  • Put in a nonporous pot like glazed ceramic 
  • Set temps between 65 and 85°F and humidity over 50 percent 
  • Fertilize monthly during the active growing season

In this informative guide, I’ll discuss the above areas of neon pothos plant care in far more detail so you’ll have actionable steps to follow. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to confidently grow your own neon pothos. 

Neon Pothos Overview

First, let’s talk a bit about the fascinating houseplant that is the neon pothos.

The Epipremnum pinnatum or neon pothos comes from the Solomon Islands in Oceania. The average temperature there is 79.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and the weather consistently stays humid. 

As I touched on in the intro, the neon pothos is among a long list of pothos varieties, with others including the silver satin, pearls and jade, marble queen, Hawaiian, and golden pothos. 

Unlike most of those varieties, the neon pothos features little variegation, which is unique leaf patterning and coloring. Heavily variegated plants tend to be more finicky with their care requirements, so that makes the neon pothos moderately more beginner-friendly.

What does the neon pothos look like, you ask? It’s a brightly colored plant that’s greenish-yellow. Each of its leaves is shaped like a heart. Outdoors, the leaves can reach impressive lengths of 20 inches, but in your home or office, they won’t get nearly that large.

The standard size of a neon pothos is around three to six feet wide and 20 to 40 feet long, although when grown indoors, the plant is smaller and tidier. 

Are you likely to see flowers from the neon pothos? No, and that goes for other pothos varieties as well. 

When grown outdoors though, flowers can sometimes appear. The flowers have a purple spadix with a creamy-colored spathe. They’re quite pretty! 

If you have a cat or dog in the house (or several), then the neon pothos isn’t for you. This plant is toxic to cats and dogs alike, causing tongue and mouth irritation, an inability to swallow, excess salivation, and vomiting. 

Remember, cats can climb, so hiding your neon pothos won’t necessarily help! 

By the way, the same uncomfortable symptoms can befall you as well if you get too close to the neon pothos. Always wear gardening gloves when touching this houseplant and then wash your hands after just to be on the safe side. Also, as much as you can, limit handling. 

Caring for Neon Pothos

Are you ready to get started growing the neon pothos? Per the intro, here are the facets of its care. 

Watering a Neon Pothos

Keeping the neon pothos watered should be one of the easier areas of its care considering it’s drought-tolerant.

When the first few inches of this plant’s soil begin to dry out, it’s time to water your neon pothos. Some indoor gardeners let half the soil dry out between watering.

You may wish to do the same, but make sure that your neon pothos isn’t becoming dehydrated in the interim. 

You’ll be able to tell when the neon pothos is underwatered because the plant’s leaves will wilt and turn crispy. The brown discoloration along the leaf margins will stand out even more against the neon-colored foliage.

The fingertip test will be your best gauge for when you need to water your neon pothos. When the time comes, pour in enough water to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. 

Standing water is a no-no, so choose well-draining soil and a pot with large drainage holes (more on all this later).

Overwatering the pothos is also ill-advised since this plant is rather sensitive to root rot. Since leaf yellowing is a sign of overwatering and that’s not easily noticeable in a yellow houseplant, you need to be extra diligent about the amount of water you use.

I do want to touch on the drought tolerance of the neon pothos a little further. Being drought-tolerant means that if you forget to water your plant for a few days, it’s no sweat.

What drought tolerance does not mean is that you should make the neon pothos forego water for weeks or longer. Your plant will die. 

Neon Pothos Light Requirements

Since it’s not overly variegated, the neon pothos is less stingy about its lighting requirements. 

Bright, indirect light will always be the lighting of choice for this pothos. All you need is a curtain in a westerly or southerly-facing window and that will suffice for this plant. 

The neon pothos can withstand bright, indirect light all year long. This is good for you, as you won’t have to move your pothos from window to window throughout the year, which could cause transplant stress. 

Please avoid direct sun exposure for this pothos variety. The indoor plant’s leaves are not nearly large enough to withstand the effects of full sun, so they will burn. 

Dim or dark conditions are okay for this plant in the short term, but not for too long. You’ll know your neon pothos is starving for light in two ways.

For one, rather than looking greenish-yellow as it should, the neon pothos will turn mostly green instead. 

Second, its stems can become long and leggy as they reach desperately for whatever sunlight they can get. Prune the leggy bits and restore your neon pothos to bright, indirect sunlight and it might bounce back. 

Best Soil for a Neon Pothos

Getting back to what I said about the neon pothos not being able to tolerate standing water, its soil must be well-draining. 

Well, if you use soil. 

Some indoor gardeners decide to grow their pothos plants not in soil at all, but rather, in a container of water. This is applicable for most pothos varieties as well as pothos cuttings. 

If that’s what you want to do, then you must change the houseplant’s water at least weekly. Otherwise, it’s growing in its own filth.

Many more indoor gardeners will choose soil as their neon pothos’ growth medium. You can use standard potting soil for this pothos. The neon pothos prefers slightly more acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5.

How do you make its soil more acidic? A compost pile comes especially in handy. As the organic matter within the compost pile begins to decompose, the pH of the soil will change slowly yet surely.

Besides compost, I’d also suggest soil amendments to keep the soil nice and breathable. 

Gypsum or calcium sulfate is a good choice and perlite is another. The added benefit of perlite is that besides improving the soil’s aeration, it will provide areas of drainage as well. 

That said, since perlite’s pH is up to 7.5, don’t use too much at once. 

Best Type of Pot for a Neon Pothos

Nonporous pots that don’t absorb water are a must for the neon pothos, as that will help this plant maintain its soil moisture for longer.

Glazed ceramic is one such option. Please avoid buying untreated ceramic, as it’s more porous without a layer of glaze, so it will suck up all the moisture from your neon pothos. 

Another downside of glazed ceramic is that it’s more expensive and usually heavy. On top of that, you must exercise caution when handling ceramic, since if you drop a glazed ceramic pot, it’s done for. You can’t exactly glue it back together, as water can leak out of the cracks.

A plastic pot might not turn any heads, but it gets the job done. You can’t shatter plastic and it’s inexpensive. If you want your neon pothos to have a unique-looking pot, then buy colorful or patterned plastic.

Unless glazed, avoid clay and terracotta, as these are the two most porous plant pot materials. Your neon pothos will be starving for water! 

Neon Pothos Ideal Temperature and Humidity

As a reminder, the neon pothos is from the Solomon Islands, a hot and humid area. You must replicate those same conditions in the office or at home.

The preferred temperature range for this bright-hued houseplant is 65 to 85 degrees. 

The temps can climb as high as 90 degrees and the neon pothos is still well within its comfort zone. Too much hotter though and it’s warm even for this heat-loving plant.

By night, the temperatures shouldn’t drop too far below 60 degrees. The neon pothos is not exactly cold-tolerant. Once temperatures are under 50 degrees, death is likely for this plant. 

Please check its temperatures and set the thermostat accordingly!

The neon pothos likes humidity, but it won’t begrudge you if you can’t match its humidity requirements. It will be okay if the average relative humidity in your home is between 30 and 50 percent, but it will do even better in hot rooms such as your bathroom.

Best Fertilizer for a Neon Pothos 

Some indoor gardeners forego fertilizing their neon pothos altogether. This is a viable option provided its soil is nutrient-rich. That’s likelier if you added compost to the soil to alter the pH. 

If you’re not quite confident in how nutrient-rich your neon pothos’ soil is, that’s okay. You can always fertilize the plant. 

Apply fertilizer at the start of this houseplant’s active growing season, which is the spring through the summer. You can use all-purpose plant fertilizer or organic fertilizer. 

Please dilute the fertilizer to quarter-strength or half-strength. Lightly water the neon pothos and then add the fertilizer. 

I recommend fertilizing your neon pothos at least every month during the growing season, but you can always skip a month. Watch and see how your plant reacts to the fertilizer. Some plants develop what’s called fertilizer burn.

This can cause symptoms such as withering, leaf browning, and leaf yellowing. Remember, you won’t easily detect yellow leaves in a neon pothos, you must keep your eyes open for the other signs. In severe cases of fertilizer burn, a layer of fertilizer crust develops on the soil.

If your plant has fertilizer burn, scale back its fertilizing for a while. 

After the active growing season ends, you can stop fertilizing until next spring. The neon pothos goes dormant in the winter anyway.

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